Texas-Pan Am gets probation

McALLEN, Texas -- The University of Texas-Pan American men's basketball program committed "major violations" in recruiting between 2006 and 2008 and will be put on two years probation, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

The collegiate sports governing body said the south Texas university's program's probation comes on top of a range of self-imposed penalties during the current school year for dozens of impermissible phone calls to prospective recruits as well as inducements and unauthorized contact with one recruit.

The university, located in Edinburg, self-imposed penalties last year that included giving up one basketball scholarship and one assistant coaching position during the current school year.

The report, posted on the NCAA's Web site Tuesday, also noted the university failed to adequately monitor coaches' contacts with recruits.

"Our reaction is that this is the last chapter in this book," said athletic director Chris King. "We can finally move forward."

"We've got a new coach, a new athletics director and a new president, and we've all talked about building a new era in Texas-Pan American athletics," King said. "We feel like we've got a strong vision and direction, so we all feel confident moving forward."

The violations came to light in an internal investigation the university initiated in 2008 after a former assistant coach e-mailed the president's office. The university, a member of the Great West conference, forwarded results of its investigation to the NCAA in April 2009.

Last year, UTPA announced it would not renew the contract of Tom Schuberth, who had coached the men's basketball team from 2006-2009.

In addition to at least 44 impermissible phone calls by the coaching staff, the NCAA's report cited incidents when the head coach bought an energy drink for a recruit following a pickup game at UTPA's field house; a visit by the coach and female to the recruit's house, which was for sale, ostensibly to tour it during the non-contact period; and, a later allowed visit when the coach brought dinner for the recruit's family.

There also was impermissible contact between a volunteer strength coach, who trained the same prospective recruit.

The team finished this season with a 6-27 record.